2021 Outstanding Alumni Award winners announced - University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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2021 Outstanding Alumni Award winners announced

2 Dec 2021

An international physiotherapist who specialises in helping people recover from strokes and the chief operating officer of a national provider of laundry and shower services for the homeless were last night named joint winners at USC’s 2021 Outstanding Alumni Awards.

PhD graduate Dr Shamala Thilarajah is a principal physiotherapist at Singapore General Hospital and the president of the Singapore National Stroke Association.

Fellow PhD graduate Dr Michael Duggan, a former director at Deloitte, is a sustainability entrepreneur and chief operating officer of national service provider Orange Sky Australia.

In addition to the two Outstanding Alumni, three other graduate awards were announced for 2021.

The Regional Achiever was Elise Jione, general manager of USC’s Thompson Institute, who has an MBA and a graduate certificate in health sector leadership from USC.

Ms Jione, recently named 2021 Sunshine Coast Young Business Woman of the Year, developed the Alliance for Suicide Prevention and other community mental health programs.

And the Two Rising Stars were:

  • Business (Tourism) graduate Lyndsey Scott, group human resources director for MJS Holding which drives world-class dining trends from its base in Saudi Arabia; and
  • PhD graduate Dr Jennie Chandler, research associate specialising in childhood kidney disease at UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health in London.

Dr Thilarajah said from Singapore that the award was a huge encouragement and acknowledgement of her work.

“I studied a PhD at USC as I wanted to undertake research with Dr Ross Clark, who created and built devices to measure the physical activity of stroke survivors,” she said. “USC also provided an inclusive and collaborative environment for higher education.

“My qualification and research experience opened national and international opportunities to grow my career as a physiotherapist and as a researcher, including my selection in the World Stroke Organisation Future Leaders Programme in 2020, a year after graduating.

Dr Duggan, who graduated in 2016, said he studied at USC because of its strong focus on environmental sustainability and the supervision of Professor Tim Smith and Associate Professor Dana Thomsen.

“My PhD was a journey of discovery,” he said. “It taught me transferable skills that I use daily in my leadership role. I credit my USC degree with where I am today, and this Outstanding Alumnus award is an opportunity to encourage others to connect with USC.”

Dr Duggan, who is an adjunct research fellow at USC, has conducted research and delivered conference papers in Australia, the United Kingdom and Switzerland.

USC Vice-Chancellor Professor Helen Bartlett congratulated the winners and shortlisted nominees in the 2021 Outstanding Alumni Awards.

“It is wonderful to celebrate USC graduates who have achieved significantly in their field of expertise, recognising their impacts at local, national and international levels,” she said.

– Julie Schomberg

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Contact the USC media team

Name Position Email Phone
Terry Walsh Manager, Media and Messaging twalsh@usc.edu.au +61 7 5430 1160
Clare McKay Media Relations Officer (Regional) cmckay@usc.edu.au +61 7 5456 5669

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